By Gary Parrish
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger has received lots of attention for dropping weight and reshaping his body this offseason, and he seems positioned to dominate college basketball as a sophomore even more so than he did as a freshman. Big Ten, consider yourself warned. But Sullinger wasn't the only heralded big man facing weight issues last season. Another was UCLA's Josh Smith, whom I asked Bruins coach Ben Howland about over the weekend.
"Right now he's about 10 pounds over where he was last season," Howland said matter-of-factly.
That's not what I wanted to hear.
Smith is among the nation's most interesting prospects because he's a big dude with unusually soft hands. Problem is, he's just too big for his own good. The Washington native was listed at 6-foot-10, 305 pounds last season, and those numbers are probably generous. I was hoping to hear that Smith had spent this offseason losing 20 pounds. Instead, I'm told, he's gained 10.
The guess here is that he'll drop the 10 when preseason practices officially begin because most players shed weight during October and November. So Smith will be effective as a college sophomore, I'm certain. But it appears his struggles with his weight just won't allow him to be as effective as he could be, and that really is a shame because what he could be is a lottery pick and, by extension, a very wealthy big dude with unusually soft hands.